Our efforts to teach the Faith are carried out with the ultimate goal of building a new civilization. In cluster after cluster, neighborhood after neighborhood, the early glimmerings of this process are showing themselves. One of the most recent glimpses of the future comes to us from Charlottesville, VA (B) with a delightful update from one of the believers. The friends are learning how to conduct—and sustain—children’s classes, they are reaching out to their neighbors and forming relationships. They are seeing the big picture into which all of their activities are being carried out. And joyful friendships are being created.
We had another beautiful week. Here are some updates!
The children's class was such a success this week. We are starting to really get a feel for the children and how to best create order and structure within the class. Thanks to B who kindly provided refreshments for the children. They were much appreciated in the heat!
This week the children, in addition to learning prayers and songs, made puppets out of brown paper bags. They love doing crafts, and the parents take special note when the children bring home their art after the class. C, O, and A are being very creative in coming up with ideas each week. . . .
We are thinking it takes about 5 teachers to maintain order in the class; however, it looks like we only have 2 consistent teachers for the summer. Long story short, we need teachers! If you're interested in serving in this capacity, please let us know!
We are really starting to feel a part of this community. When we walk around, children are running out to greet us, parents are waving. As far as our direct teaching efforts, we will be focusing less on door-to-door teaching. Our hope is to expand upon the many connections and relationships we already have. For example, we spent one afternoon this past week sitting in one family's living room, getting to know them, sharing stories and playing music. Two of the younger men will join us for one of A's devotionals soon!
As a side note, we are realizing that door-to-door teaching is really only a fraction of what needs to be done. In comparison to what is needed for other efforts, it is minimal. The majority of our time and effort is needed in follow-ups, and in initiating and leading Ruhi study circles.
This week we had an extra special event. A daughter of a in whose home we use as a home-base for the children's class had a birthday this weekend. The family warmly invited us and sincerely asked that we come to the event. A group of us showed up to the party. The small apartment was packed with people, balloons, mounds of fruit and yummy food, and a ton of singing. Members of a local church were there, leading devotional songs and prayers and giving talks. We all listened and sang when we could (when it was in English!). After their devotions were done, the birthday girl stood up and insisted to everyone present that we sing a Bahá’í song, "We Are Drops". Then she insisted we say a prayer they've learned in the class, and she and her sister led the prayer: "O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful." Afterwards she and her sister wanted us to sing another song they had learned! It was truly wonderful to see the children themselves ask to sing and pray.
We are truly teaching hearts, and that goes so much deeper than words. More than anything, at this birthday party we realized that we are creating relationships. We have a large responsibility to these beautiful souls.
With much love,
The Core Team